I have a good friend from my childhood who now lives in Paris. Every year she goes away for about 2 weeks and sublets me her apartment. Since I love to travel 2 weeks is never enough so I usually go a week before or after so I can travel somewhere else in France and see my friend when she is home from her trip.
This year my travel week was before my summer vacation in Paris and it took me to the south of France. I am a huge history lover (especially when it comes to Roman and Greek), and the area on the border of Provence and Occitanie is full of Roman history. This area in the south was known as Gaul. The area of Gaul was originally conquered by Julius Caesar and taken from the Celtic Gauls around 58 BC. Gaul and the Romans had been fighting since 390 BC. Emperor Augustus created the territories. You can still go see the Augustus Gate in the city of Avignon. In 486 AD the Franks defeated the Romans founding the Frankish kingdom. Roman Rule over Gaul lasted 5 centuries.
First stop on my trip was Avignon where I had stayed four nights. I took the TGV train from Paris then the local train into the actual town. This was easy to plan on raileurope.com
There are very few cabs in this town, if any. I waited for a possible cab at the train station for over half an hour and only saw two come and go.I decided I was done waiting for a cab and my Airbnb wasn’t that far so I decided to walk. It was hot and the sidewalks are very small. I was often walking in the cobblestone streets. Not a fun way to drag luggage. When I met my host he gave me the phone number of a car service that I could use later in the week to take back to the train station. I recommend asking your host or hotel before you go so you can have a car waiting.
After getting settled in my Airbnb I grabbed a snack and went to the tourist office. avignon-tourisme.com I didn’t think I was the type of person to go into tourist offices since I usually do a lot of research on places before I go somewhere, but I found the tourist office in Avignon very helpful. I was able to buy tickets for the various things I wanted to do.
The first thing I did after that was take the Petit Train. This is a small train that gives you a tour of the city, hitting a lot of sights and monuments that might take you a week or more to see on your own. Each seat had headphones so you could choose one of the 11 languages they offered to listen to the tour. I got to see a little bit of everything in the town and figure out what I wanted to revisit.
The weekly market was going on down by the Rhône. I made my way down and found a couple of venders with fresh fruits and veggies. There was a small truck with fresh goat cheese right from the farm. The cheese was amazing. It was a soft cheese, smooth and creamy and a little earthy. It was the time of year for fresh goat cheese and there was so much of it all over.
Once it got dark there was a short, maybe 15 minutes, light show projected onto the Petit Palais which is now an art museum. It was called Helios. It had the sun bouncing around from scene to scene making buildings grow or bouncing around in a pinball machine. It was a nice way to end my first day in Avignon.